I am a simple soul with simple ambitions. I don’t want to go to space, or trek across the desert, Exotic animals in the jungle don’t need me observing their mating rituals, my ambitions are much more mundane. Top of my list was to cold smoke some cheese, in particular french Brie, and finally yesterday it came to fruition.
Earlier in the summer I built a permanent smoker in the garden, to replace old hot smoker , and now I have a substantial brick cabinet which can be used for either hot or cold smoking. The hot smoking has already been chronicled, and now finally the time for cold smoking has come.
To create the smoke I purchased the pro Q smoker, a very clever little contraption which burns saw dust to make the smoke without heat some time ago but have been waiting for the cheese. Finally a date in the diary emerges and a day trip to France becomes a reality, where we can buy the cheese.
Now It has been said before that I am a creature of habit, I like to think that if I find something that’s good why not repeat the experience. For me a day trip to France, is go over on the ferry from Dover to Calais getting there at about midday french time, drive to Boulogne, parking the car by the fish market, a quick stroll into town followed by the highlight of the visit, chips with pepper sauce from Fritterie Brigitte boulognes premier purveyor of chips on the harbour. This is then followed by a round of crazy golf, although I have gone off this as my wife beat me last time, I think she has been taking secret lessons. This is followed by a trip to Citie de Europe, to purchase a stock of wine and cheese from Carrefour. The day concludes with tea and cakes on the ferry, returning home for 8pm. What’s not to like in my world a pretty good day.
Alas the french had other ideas. The french dockers went on strike whilst we were on the high seas, turning a simple 90 minute crossing into a three hour marathon, which meant we arrived in France at 1.30. My wife on a roll to shake me up wanted to go to a french market, so we detoured to discover that the market was over. Despondant we carried on to boulougne to discover Fritterie Brigitte closed having finished it’s lunch time service. Luckily carrefour was open, and I was able to continue the tradition of going up and down the wine aisles pretending to know what I’m doing, whilst those pushing the trolley continue the tradition of knowing that I don’t know what I’m doing but are too polite to say so. Three rounds of Brie are duly purchased, and back to the ferry we go. The ferries are running late however our reservation was transferred to an earlier ferry which hadn’t left yet, and once more we set sail across the briny, this time to be told mid crossing that due to the french dockers upsetting things earlier, everything had gone wrong and now there wasn’t a Berth available in Dover for our ship for at least an hour, leaving us bobbing about on the waves, again turning the crossing into another 3 hour marathon. Throughout we console ourselves with thoughts of smoked cheese and any suggestion that we could have purchased cheese from a local supermarket totally ignored.
Finally the moment had come and with great ceremony, or at least which as much ceremony as middle aged man there by himself can muster, the smoker is loaded with a round of Brie, a block of cheddar, some home cured bacon, and a basket of fresh prawns. After several false starts the smoker is lit and starts producing flavoured smoke. Whilst it was smoking I made French bread, with French flour, and after several hours we sat down to lunch.
The alternative title to this episode could be ” My family want their waist lines Back” One again a meal fit for a king, and once again I can use the joke that if Prince Charles knocked at the Door that lunch time I would pretend to be out! Cheeses, prawns, and bread were devoured for lunch, the bacon was used in Smoked bacon risotto for dinner. The applewood smoke imparted a delicate smoke flavour which has now set the standard very high. The Brie was good, although I have to say the smoked cheddar was my favourite of the cheeses. The bacon was unlike any shop brought product I have ever tasted, Apparently they do all have a shelf life but I suspect we will never find out how long that is.
The only problem is can I face another trip to France to replenish supplies